Sunday, March 29, 2015

Submission in the Civic Realm (1 Peter 2:13-17)

So the first specific example of what Peter has in mind for submission is the area where Christians in western cultures have decided that the Bible does not apply to them. Curiously, it seems that Christians with a bent toward Biblical inerrancy are the guiltiest of this cherry-picking of Scripture.

Depending on how you translate this passage, Peter either tells Christians to submit (or defer or respect, if you insist) to the government or to those in the seats of power in those institutions. Once again, the verb used here does not precisely mean obey. That said, I think most would agree that save extreme instances where governments force you to do evil, obedience is included here. At the very least, calling the current president an idiot is the opposite of what Peter meant.

Some would argue that this passage is not in force today, because we live in a democracy, not a kingdom or empire. Ignoring the fact that they are wrong since most western cultures are not democracies, the form of government does not change the fact that the Bible is calling on believers to show respect to those in power. Even if you choose to disobey laws that go against your ethical standards, you can do so in a respectful manner.

As our culture becomes more and more disrespectful, immature, and ignorant, it is hardly suiting for believers to join into that devolving attitude. Are we incapable of voicing well-thought-out reasoning for our stances on issues? Do we really need to be those running to the front of the pack calling our elected leaders idiots and fools and relishing in their failures?

This sort of thing has been going on on both sides of the political spectrum in Christianity since the turn of the century at least, and it needs to stop. Let’s try praying for our leaders and respecting them for a change. If for no other reason than that is what God has told us to do.

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